Meet the Team: Get to Know Phil Saunders

· by Maddy Burgess

At RecRe, we love getting to know our team members and giving them a chance to share their unique stories. Today, we’re excited to introduce Phil Saunders, our Hardware & Logistics Manager. In our conversation we’ll learn about his journey, experiences, and outlook towards his role on our team.

Phil’s Journey to RecRe

Phil’s journey began as a director of marketing for a property management company. His role in the initial launch of RecRe makes him a pivotal part of our story. He didn’t have much hardware and logistics experience, but Phil didn’t let that hold him back. “The freedom to grow and try new things was really appealing”, he shared. “That growth opportunity is something I really appreciate. And I love how our team is encouraging of everyone to hone their skills while adding new ones.”

With a background in theater and over a decade of time dedicated to Harrisonburg High School’s theater department, Phil’s creative instincts have always found a way to influence his work. This creative aspect, coupled with understanding the importance of relationships, helped him land past jobs and also enabled him to thrive in his current role. 

Phil’s Life outside Work

In his downtime, Phil enjoys spending time with his wife and their four young children. They love traveling, especially to anything Disney-related. “I also find a lot of joy in giving back to the community. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance which is a lot of fun.”

The RecRe Experience

In his role at RecRe, Phil works closely with our team leaders and is gradually expanding his responsibilities. When asked about his challenges, Phil opened up about the pace of work in a startup environment. “Coming into a startup, it’s easy to feel like you have to move really quickly, especially when deals are closing and deployments are happening”. Phil has recognised that patience is equally essential, especially in the midst of securing deals and orchestrating product launches. 

Staying Relevant

To stay up-to-date with the industry, Phil relies on monthly publications like ‘Talking Stick’ and carves out time every month to read up on trends. He also has a mentor he meets with once a month to bounce off ideas and get feedback. Podcasts and audiobooks pertaining to marketing and company culture also serve as his go-to sources. 

The Future of the Industry

Phil believes that being a forward thinker and having the ability to adapt quickly are crucial skills for the future of this industry. “As professionals, we need to have that mentality, especially in a startup environment. The ability to jump from one task to another without feeling overwhelmed is part of this world, especially with a small team wearing multiple hats,” he adds. 

Impact of the COVID Pandemic

Having started his last position in March 2020, Phil was well-prepared for remote work when he joined RecRe. “The pandemic changed our ideas about the workplace and how tasks are accomplished. It made everyone take a step back and reevaluate the traditional 9 to 5.” For Phil, working remotely offers flexibility and promotes better team communication. However, as someone who thrives around people, he also looks forward to in-person team days. 

The Role of AI

We’ve experimented with using AI, such as ChatGPT, for tasks like writing captions for posts and scheduling through HubSpot’s AI tool. Phil admits to being a bit skeptical about this at first. “We don’t want to lose that human and personal touch,” he explains. However, he does not see AI replacing any roles within RecRe. “The personal touch is so critical to our business’ success. Relationships cannot be replicated with AI, though it might assist in small tasks.”

Favorite Memory at RecRe

Phil’s favorite memory at RecRe involves the people and events that he’s had the chance to experience. Recalling a dinner with Auburn’s Taylor Dyleski a few months ago, Phil was struck by the importance of meeting people where they are and having grace for people. That principle guides his work both internally with the RecRe team and externally with clients and students. 

Phil’s journey reflects the unique career paths and perspectives that make our team at RecRe so dynamic. Stay tuned for more Meet the Team blog posts, where we dive deeper into the stories of the individuals who make RecRe the vibrant company it is today.